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Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Google bans abortion poll ads in Ireland

Google bans abortion poll ads in Ireland

Google is to ban all adverts related to Ireland's abortion referendum.

Beginning on Thursday, Google and its video-sharing platform YouTube will refrain from displaying advertisements related to the referendum, which will take place on May 25, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

James Lawless TD, technology spokesperson for the opposition party Fianna Fáil, said Google's decision to ban the adverts had come "too late in the day", and raised concerns about the online conduct of the campaign. "[It's] scandalous, and it is an attempt to rig the election".

Cora Sherlock of the Love Both campaign, which is working for a "no" vote in the referendum - said the enthusiastic welcome for the decision from pro-choice groups is "extremely revealing".

Some of the campaigners in favor of retaining the Eighth Amendment have lamented that Google's decision was not due to concerns over election integrity but over concerns that the No side would win. But as of Tuesday, those-mostly North American-foreign actors with an interest in Ireland's vote can no longer purchase Facebook ads related to the campaign. But pro-life advocates said they have another goal - helping the pro-abortion side. Several thousand Irish women travel each year to get abortions in neighboring Britain.

In National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote that although Google's decision may seem neutral, it will likely do more damage to the pro-life campaign.

Abortion is now illegal in Ireland, except if there is a risk to the life of the mother, including if the mother says she is suicidal. According to TheJournal.ie, this amendment will allow repealing (removing) Article 40.3.3 (known as the Eighth Amendment) and replacing it with this line: 'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies'.

"We believe this referendum will be won on facts, and now when undecided voters are searching online, they'll see the most relevant answers to their questions - not the ones that are paid to be put in front of them", Smyth concluded.

"The Repeal side already has overwhelming support in traditional broadcast and print media in Ireland, while the less well-funded campaigns to retain the Eighth Amendment rely on social media".

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